Himmelfarb Library blog: New Location!

Himmelfarb Library‘s blog has moved to a new location!  Please access this site for the latest news and information from GW’s Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library.

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TOXNet Retired!


The TOXNET database is retiring on December 16, 2019.  Much of TOXNET’s information will remain accessible and will be incorporated into other resources including PubChemPubMed, and NCBI’s Bookshelf:

  • PubChem will incorporate the Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), ChemIDPlus, and the Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System (CCRIS); the CCRIS includes information from 1985-2011 and is no longer updated.
  • PubMed will incorporate information from TOXLINE, the Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology Database (DART)
  • Bookshelf will incorporate LactMed and LiverTox

Some TOXNET resources have been retired but related resources remain accessible:

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Auscultation, FDA Approvals & Best Minds in Medicine!

best minds in medicine.png

AccessMedicine has introduced several new features to support learning across the continuum of medical education – from undergraduate to continuing medical education.  AccessMedicine features nearly 150 full-text books including key titles such as Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine (20th ed), Basic & Clinical Biostatistics (4th ed.), and Symptom to Diagnosis: An Evidence-Based Guide (3rd ed.).

In addition to its full-text library, AccessMedicine offers resources to support study and learning.  To complement its already robust collection of drug information, multimedia materials, cases, and study tools, AccessMedicine has introduced several new features including:

AccessMedicine is available from on-and off-campus locations.  Please contact Laura Abate (leabate@gwu.edu) with questions.

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Mental Health During Winter Months

A sad face drawn in a frosted car window.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), an onset of depressive symptoms during winter months, affects an estimate of .4%-2.9% of the population. The causes of SAD are still unclear, however everything from genetics to diminished light may play a factor. While its seasonal nature means SAD symptoms abate in the Spring, that doesn’t mean you have to slog through the winter with symptoms like loss of interest, hypersomnia, or irritability. There are many treatments available, from light therapy to antidepressants.

Pjrek et al. (2019) conducted a systematic review of randomized controlled trials exploring the efficacy of bright light therapy (BLT) as a treatment for SAD. Their review found that these trials proved BLT an effective treatment for SAD, though these trials included smaller sample sizes and larger clinical trials would be preferable.

If you want to try BLT at home, The Cut published a list of the 6 best light therapy lamps available on Amazon. They range in price from $65 to $230 for a large floor lamp. The Strategist from New York Magazine also published their list of recommendations, and it includes two pairs of light therapy glasses! Light therapy glasses work just like light therapy lamps, but are more compact and portable.

Did you know? Light therapy can also help with morning drowsiness and even relieve jet lag symptoms.

Image Source: McCasland, J. (2013). Battling the winter blues [online image]. Retrieved December 11, 2019 from https://www.barksdale.af.mil/News/Photos/igphoto/2000887742/

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How to talk about vaccines – and save lives!

let's talk vaccines book coverHow can you talk with patients about vaccines?  How can you address vaccine hesitancy, combat myths and misinformation, and save lives?

Himmelfarb Library recently added Let’s Talk Vaccines: A Clinician’s Guide to Addressing Vaccine Hesitancy and Saving Lives to our online and print collections.  Let’s Talk Vaccines covers everything from the science of vaccine safety to the psychology of risk communication.  It includes real-life examples and thoughtful, evidence-based techniques that will help patients understand vaccines and make informed decisions.

Let’s Talk Vaccines is useful to primary care providers, pediatricians, family physicians, nurse practitioners, and public health advocates.  The book provides an excellent framework for how to approach difficult discussions, with the goal of improving the health of each patient as well as the community at large.  The book uses a patient-centered approach to

  • Directly address the increasing trend of parents choosing not to vaccinate their children, including the history and psychology of the anti-vaccine movement.
  • Examine the issues underlying vaccine hesitancy, answering the common questions and concerns that vaccine-hesitant patients may raise during office visits.
  • Help you dispel myths and fears that many patients have, with particular attention paid to misinformation and skepticism on social media.
  • Cover the anti-vaccine movement’s assertions about autism, autoimmune illnesses and allergies, toxic ingredients, overwhelming the immune system, conspiracies, and more – bringing you up to date with the most common issues and effective approaches to the vaccine discussion.
  • Provide practical tips on approaching the vaccine-hesitant parent and how anti-vaccine patients change their minds, with a focus on remaining a positive partner in your patients’ care and finding greater success in your vaccination efforts

Let’s Talk Vaccines is available online from both on- and off-campus locations.  Himmelfarb Library’s print copy is currently available on the New Book Shelf (QR189 .L37 2020) and is available for checkout.

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Hello Winter! Goodbye Boring Workouts

indoor rock climbing

It’s beginning to feel a lot like winter! With shorter daylight hours, and constant holiday get-togethers that offer an abundance of sweets and treats, it can be a challenge to find the motivation to stick with an exercise routine. We all know how appealing a treadmill is after that eighth cookie right?

This year, why not spice up your fitness routine with some alternative exercise activities? Trying something new can help keep you engaged and excited about burning those holiday calories. Take a break from studying at Himmelfarb, and try one of these five fun alternatives to hitting the gym that many of us avoid during this time of year: 

  1. Flying Trapeze

Did you ever dream of running away to the circus when you were a kid? You can make that dream a reality without actually having to leave DC. Take a flying trapeze class at Trapeze School New York Washington DC (TSNY DC). You’ll get to work on conditioning, body awareness, timing, trust, relaxation, and build self confidence all while flying through the air! You may even see the familiar face of a Himmelfarb librarian in class! 

Ruth Bueter, Himmelfarb Librarian, with a Set Gazelle Catch on the flying trapeze!

If flying trapeze isn’t up your alley, TSNY DC offers a variety of other circus classes to choose from including: silks, static trapeze, trampoline, lyra, spanish web, and even juggling! As an added bonus, you get to exercise in a real circus tent! TSNY is located at Navy Yard DC and is accessible via Metro.

2. Dancing at Glen Echo Park

If you’d rather keep your feet firmly on the ground, put on your dancing shoes and head to Glen Echo Park for an evening of dancing. Glen Echo offers a variety of dance opportunities including contra, ballroom, blues, salsa, swing, tango, and waltz. Dances are open to the public and no experience is needed. An introductory lesson is provided before the dance begins. Most dances include live music. Find a dance event that suits your musical tastes and dancing interest on the dance calendar! Keep an eye out for another familiar Himmelfarb librarian who has been known to cut a rug from time to time at the Glen Echo dances!

3. Indoor Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a great total body workout. Indoor climbing is a great alternative to traditional rock climbing during the cold weather months, and a great introduction to the sport for those new to climbing. Not only is rock climbing a great workout for your muscles, it’s also a fantastic mental workout to strategize your route to the top. DC area indoor rock climbing opportunities include: Vertical Rock Indoor Climbing Center (Manassas, VA), Sport Rock (Alexandria & Sterling, VA), Earth Treks (Columbia, MD; Crystal City, VA; Rockville, MD), and Climb YMCA (Cardozo neighborhood of DC).

4. Ice Skating

Ice skating can be a great way to get some exercise during the winter months. Not only does ice skating work numerous muscle groups, it’s a lot of fun and can be enjoyed with friends and family. DC has numerous outdoor skating rinks to enjoy this winter including: the Washington Harbour Ice Rink on the Georgetown Waterfront, the Wharf Ice Rink at The Wharf, Canal Park Ice Skating in Navy Yard, and the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink on the National Mall between the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery of Art.

5. Holiday Light Walking or Running Tour

Want to get in the holiday spirit while logging those steps on your fitness tracker? Go for a walk through local holiday light displays like Zoo Lights, Enchant at Nationals Park, or Georgetown Glow. Or take a walking or running tour of DC Christmas trees. Notable trees to include on your tour could include: the National Christmas Tree on the White House Ellipse, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, and the Canadian Embassy Christmas Tree. While you’re on The Ellipse, be sure to check out the National Menorah. If you’d prefer to get those steps in while staying warm and cozy indoors, consider checking out the holiday train and plant-based recreations of landmarks at the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Season’s Greedings exhibit. Or head to Union Station to see the Christmas tree and wreaths, followed by the indoor tree at the Library of Congress.

Want more ideas for spicing up your winter fitness routine? Why not try running snow sprints, going for a winter hike with a local hiking club, taking advantage of an indoor swimming pool at the Lerner Health & Wellness Center or one of DC’s indoor city pools, cross-country skiing, or escaping the cold with a hot yoga class? Or if you just need a study break during those long hours of studying at Himmelfarb, take advantage of our exercise equipment and board games. There are so many unique ways to stay fit during this time of year. Find one that you enjoy and add it to your winter routine this year!

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Gain Insight or Just Find a Good Read

Himmelfarb’s Humanities and Health Collection is much more than a leisure reading collection. These books can provide insight into the lives and experiences of those who have been sick and those who provide care.

book pages

Himmelfarb Library selectively acquires books in the Literature in Medicine genre for its Humanities and Health Collection. The collection is located on the first floor of the library, near the information desk and includes more than 200 titles that can be checked out for up to 9 weeks. 


Here’s a sampling of a few of the titles available:

Awdish, Rana. In Shock : My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope . First edition. New York: St. Martin’s Press; 2017. (R154.A93 A3 2017)

Day, Carolyn. Consumptive Chic : a History of Beauty, Fashion, and Disease . London ;: Bloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc; 2017. (RA644.T7 D39 2017)

Lerner, Barron H., Lerner, Phillip I. The Good Doctor : a Father, a Son, and the Evolution of Medical Ethics . Boston: Beacon Press; 2014. (R725.5 .L47 2014)

Obreht, Téa. The Tiger’s Wife : a Novel . 1st ed. New York: Random House; 2011. (PS3615 .B73 T54 2011)

Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper : a Novel . New York: Washington Square PressBooks; 2006. (PS3566.I372 P53 2004)

Solzheni︠t︡syn, Aleksandr Isaevich. Cancer Ward . New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1968. (PG3488 .O4 R313 1968)

Tweedy, Damon. Black Man in a White Coat : a Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine . First Picador paperback edition. New York: Picador; 2016. (R154.T84 A3 2015)

You can browse the Humanities & Health Collection in the Online Catalog or come into Himmelfarb and browse the physical collection.

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Clinical Apps: DynaMed, Lexicomp, Epocrates

DynaMed, Lexicomp and Epocrates app iconsHimmelfarb Library provides clinical apps for free download!  DynaMed, Lexicomp and Epocrates Plus (premium) provide clinical information including up to the minute disease and drug information.  All three apps provide access to information whether or not you have WiFi or data access at your point of need.

For each app, download the free app from the iTunes store or Google Play, and then follow the instructions on Himmelfarb Library’s App Shelf in order to connect your app to Himmelfarb’s subscription.

If you prefer not to install the app, you can access these resources via 24/7 web access from Himmelfarb Library’s webpage.  DynaMed and Epocrates Plus are mobile-optimized so will display well whether you’re accessing these information tools on your cell phone, a tablet, or computer.

If you have any questions, please contact Laura Abate (leabate@gwu.edu).

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All the flavor without the guilt: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

thankfulFeeling stressed about the calories to come? Fear not, for there are abundant ways to eat well and to enjoy the food you make this holiday season. From pumpkin soup to apple salad with figs and almonds, there is no shame in indulging in savory and sweet temptations that don’t break the scale. 

Instead of the fatty foods or dishes smothered in butter, why not reinvent Thanksgiving with something that will not only taste good, but promote healthy eating? The Mayo Clinic has several recipes you can try, like their Wild Rice and Mushroom Soup, Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes, and a Rustic Apple-Cranberry Tart. These recipes pack flavor that is low in fat and sodium. No need to reach for the stretch pants with these healthy meals!

Regardless of your dietary needs, there is something for everyone, like this low carb Broiled Shrimp with Buttermilk Remoulade from CookingLight, or the vegetarian-friendly Beet Hummus with Blue Cheese and Walnuts. The options are endless.  What hors d’oeuvres, main dishes or desserts will you decide to include on your plate this year?  

To explore additional recipes, please explore these options identified by Himmelfarb Library

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Promoting Health on Social Media: Way Forward

Social Media Marketing Strategy

The question of how digital technologies can promote health is explored in an editorial by GW faculty Lorien C. Abroms recently published in Health Education and Behavior.  Dr. Abroms and her co-authors discuss the dominance of social media in current culture and the challenge of identifying its positive and negative health effects.

Among the possible approaches to harnessing social media to promote health, they identify collaboration and partnerships between government agencies and social media companies; scholarship to identify and assess positive and negative health effects of social media; and, social media public health campaigns which are rigorously assessed and evaluated.

To better understand the issues surrounding social media and health and to discover options for the way forward, read the full-text article from Himmelfarb Library‘s collection:

Abroms, L. C., Gold, R. S., & Allegrante, J. P. (2019). Promoting Health on Social Media: The Way Forward. Health education & behavior : the official publication of the Society for Public Health Education, 46(2_suppl), 9–11. doi:10.1177/1090198119879096


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